Beholder is all about making choices, even if the choices become repetitive. The FingerGuns Review;
If the world falls under a Totalitarian Government, I will be the first to throw my hands up and say “I will follow you my new glorious overlords”. Don’t take this a cowardice, it is simply self preservation, looking out for my family while keeping out of the eye of the authorities. That’s why Beholder appealed to me, set in a dystopian future you are installed as a landlord of an apartment building, and must spy on the tenants to ensure the are abiding by the laws. You are given drugs that suppress your sleep, so you can be on the lookout for rule breakers all of the time. It all seems rosy, your family like the new house and you like the job but the constant threat of abiding by a moral code you may not 100% agree with can weigh heavy on you.
The game looks like a Soviet cartoon, which adds to the atmosphere that you are working for a “Big Brother” and the soundtrack also adds to the game, but when you start to play you quickly realise that this is a port from a P.C game. The controls are a little tricky, making you fumble over simple tasks at the start and zooming out when you are not meant to. But once you get into the swing of things this becomes less of an aggravation. Keeping your family happy becomes more of an arduous task to, with your wife constantly asking for things to keep her happy such as a huge pot to cook in. Luckily though you can obtain most items from asking the tenants who live in the Apartment or the dodgy guy outside who sells contraband.
The basic premise is a management game, but sometimes it feels like no matter what choice you make it is a bland fix, rent, move in, move out scenario with some moral ambiguity tacked on. Don’t get me wrong the game will have you thinking about whether to report someone, tell them about the order you have received or simply blackmail them, but it never truly makes you feel like you care about the outcome, whether it is finding money for your sick daughter or following a Government directive they just feel like tasks on a list. You can get caught up in an intriguing story across tenants who don’t want to interact but through your persuasion and usually buying them contraband of some sort, they all inter-link to make you feel as though you are involved in the story.
Reporting to the Government is fairly straight forward, you can build a profile or file a report on their misdemeanours which can lead to their arrest and “disappearance” (read murder) but as the game goes on it does seem to get a bit repetitive with the same people in the same building coming and going. If there was an option to manage different buildings in the game I think it would have been more interesting, but what we got was entertaining enough. The game is a good way to kill a few hours, and have fun playing with the lives of others, but it needs to be freshened up by giving more emotional moral quandaries for us to decide on, rather than evicting someone for having a towel in their apartment.
I will definitely revisit the game again, but it will be a while before I become Comrade Jan again and help out Glorious Leader (read that in a Russian Accent and you will understand).
Publisher: Alawar Premium / Curve Digital
Developer: Warm Lamp Games
Beholder is now available on PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One and Steam.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.